Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plants exhibiting systemic mild mosaic, vein yellowing, and leaf malformation were collected from Puli City in 2006. Double-antibody sandwich (DAS)-ELISA was used to test these samples for Chilli veinal mottle virus (ChiVMV) infection using polyclonal antibodies. In addition, Chenopodium quinoa, C. amaranticolor, and Nicotiana benthamiana plants were mechanically inoculated with sap extracted from collected samples. Ten days postinoculation, chlorotic local lesions were observed on inoculated leaves of C. quinoa and C. amaranticolor plants, whereas, systemic mosaic and foliar distortion symptoms were developed on upper leaves of N. benthamiana plants. The DAS-ELISA test showed that field-collected pepper samples and inoculated leaves of C. quinoa and C. amaranticolor were infected with ChiVMV, while N. benthamiana with mosaic symptoms did not react with ChiVMV antibodies. To confirm ChiVMV, field-collected samples as well as mechanically inoculated plants were tested by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR using the potyvirus degenerate primers Hrp5/Pot1 (2). Amplified RT-PCR products were cloned and sequenced. Sequence analysis of amplified fragments (1.4 kb) revealed that field-collected pepper samples were infected with ChiVMV and Pepper mottle virus (PepMoV). The DNA fragment amplified from C. quinoa and C. amaranticolor showed high (99.2%) sequence identities with the CP gene of ChiVMV (3) (GenBank Accession No. AM909717). However, amplicons obtained from N. benthamiana plants (GenBank Accession No. HQ329082) that showed mosaic symptoms showed 83.6% to 98.7% nucleotide identities with PepMoV (GenBank Accession Nos. AB126033, AF227728, AF440801, AF501591, EU586133, and M96425). Next, a pure isolate of PepMoV was established on N. benthamiana by mechanical inoculation of diluted plant sap obtained from a PepMoV-infected N. benthamiana plant. Bell pepper plants inoculated with the Taiwan isolate of PepMoV developed mosaic and leaf distortion symptoms. Antiserum against the PepMoV Taiwan isolate was subsequently prepared by immunizing rabbits with purified virus particles. Using the prepared antiserum and specific primers (1) to detect PepMoV, ChiVMV, and Pepper veinal mottle virus (PVMV), three viruses could be readily detected and differentiated from diseased bell peppers in the field. In a survey done in 2007, 18 of 33 pepper samples from southern Taiwan were found with mixed infections of PepMoV and ChiVMV, seven samples were infected with PepMoV and PVMV, five samples were infected with PVMV, and another three samples were infected with ChiVMV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the occurrence of PepMoV in bell peppers in Taiwan.
References: (1) Y. H. Cheng et al. Plant Dis. 93:107, 2009. (2) S. S. Pappu et al. Plant Dis. 82:1121, 1998. (3) W. S. Tsai et al. Plant Pathol. 58:408, 2008.